It sounds obvious, in retrospect. In the last hundred years, American transportation has changed from horses to cars to staying at home. None of those eras were unanimous, but America has gone through great changes. A hundred years ago, life was rural, self-reliant and traveling by horse if necessary. After World War II, the lifestyle was enabled by and devoted to cars to the point that commuting by car was the norm, and activities like eating and even watching movies was done in the car. Shopping malls were characterized by their acres of asphalt for parking cars. Our new era is enabled by the Internet. People are more likely to work from home, to shop from home and have the goods delivered, to watch movies at home, and in general, not go out as much. The energy savings are becoming significant.
“from 2003 to 2012, U.S. homebodies cut national energy consumption by a whopping 1.8%” – Science/AAAS
The “traditional” car era is fading, and we’ve only just begun an era of urbanization and home-based lifestyles that benefit from living more local whether that is in cities or suburbs – as long as the Internet is operating. More efficient vehicles and better utilization of them plus new capabilities like virtual reality may be significant and unintentional influences on reducing environmental impacts.